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Shaw calls for FAO for greater funding for agricultural sector

Published:Thursday | June 27, 2019 | 9:28 AM
Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw - File photo

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, has called for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to provide a greater degree of funding through technical cooperation budgets to address challenges such as the invasion of exotic pests and diseases.

Shaw added that funding is also needed towards the employment of strategies to prevent the introduction and spread of the deadly Panama Disease Tropical Race 4 (TR-4) of Bananas and African swine fever in the CARICOM region.

Speaking at the 41st Session of the FAO Conference in Rome, Italy, on June 24, he said that currently, Jamaica faces major crises, including the invasion of exotic pests and diseases that have been negatively impacting our agricultural production programme.

“We, therefore, wish to implore the FAO to provide assistance in combating these specific threats with the potential to completely wipe out significant livelihood on the island,” Minister Shaw stated.

Among the pests and diseases mentioned by the Agriculture Minister were the Frosty Pod Rot disease, which causes low levels of production in cocoa; and citrus greening, which continues to devastate Jamaica's citrus orchards resulting in heavy economic losses.

While expressing appreciation for the technical assistance and support that the FAO has provided to Jamaica and the region, Shaw charged the agency to do much more to advance the introduction, adaptation and promulgation of climate-smart resilience technology and infrastructure across the region.

Shaw also implored the FAO to provide assistance with enhancing capacity building in research, development and innovation of our national and regional agriculture-supporting institutions and youth engagement and facilitate, encourage and strengthen bilateral and multilateral cooperation and programming among CARICOM states.

In his capacity as Chairman of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Jamaica in 2018, Shaw also presented the recommendations from the 35th Session.

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